The old and elderly don’t have any presence on primetime television. Norman Lear, the legendary sitcom creator and writer, has tried to find a place for his series about life in a retirement village, titled Guess Who Died? Lear told the press in January 2016 that TV writers relegate older characters to marginal roles, either “eccentric neighbors or wise-cracking grandparents”. Their problems, plights, and pains remain invisible to TV audiences. Network executives think that young people only want to watch young people, and I think that’s wrong assumption.
I never expected an episode of Grimm named “Blood Magic” would end up telling a poignant story about aging, dementia, and dignity in dying and, thereby, making an aspect of older life more visible for the viewing public. I hope Norman Lear has a chance to watch it. Whereas “Tree People” served a pro-environmentalism and pro-conservation message, “Blood Magic” tries on, however slightly, the controversial issue of Right to Die. The Right to Die issue is complex, complicated, and better served when different individuals (politicians, law makers, doctors, patients, etc) sit down together in a room to whether or not someone who is suffering has the right to choose when he or she dies. The Wesen community leaves the choice to the family. Rosalee expects Nick and Hank to think it a ‘callous’ in an instance of the writers possibly anticipating some sort of backlash from viewers for portraying the issue in a humane and merciful light.
Norman Lear’s “Guess Who Died?” would make the issue a conversation between his characters. That’s the Norman Lear way. Grimm isn’t the type of show in which characters would pause the action to discuss the issue. Ultimately, Nick makes the decision that Mr. Stanton would needlessly suffer in prison for murders he didn’t know he committed, so the Wesen community’s Godfather of Death humanely ends the man’s life along with his sufferings. The scene in which Mr. Stanton dies brought tears to my eyes (partially brought on by Bree Turner’s acting). No, I never, ever expected Grimm to tell a humane, poignant story about dementia and dying with dignity.
The plot leading to the moving scene at the Stantons involves the problem of older Wesens who can’t control when they woged and attacked. The 91 year old woman who dies earlier in the episode tells an orderly helping her that she remembers running and the taste of blood in her mouth. When she shortly woges, Mason, the orderly, acts in self-defense. Nick and Hank must prove Mason’s innocence without implicating Dr. Lando, the Godfather of Death, who also acts as the attending physician at the elderly home, because of Rosalee’s and Monroe’s insistence that Nick not remove Lando from the community. It’s their way of protecting Wesen. Nick can’t interfere.
I liked that the writers continue to add to the Wesen world so late in the series. Each addition to it makes it more of a fluid, independent world. Nick as the Grimm sees what may be a tiny part of their existence. He faces the murderous, criminal part, and it’s a shame Grimm didn’t explore other areas earlier in the series.
“Blood Magic” also dealt more with the mirror world, its connection to blood magic, the symbols in the tunnel, and Renard’s growing curiosity about said symbols and its connection with his daughter. Renard and Nick spoke for the first time in “Oh Captain My Captain” about the symbols and the tunnel. Nick told him to “share what he knows”. No tunnel access for him. Juliette is off on her own researching. Adalind can’t help her much, or she could but she would rather protect Juliette from what awaits her in the mirror. Man, what a sentence. This show is silly.
-Why don’t writers’ rooms institute a rule for characters saying “I don’t want to talk to character x until I have y figured out”? Nick said it this season. Juliette said it. The line sucks. It’s lazy writing. Don’t do it.
-Thomas Ian Griffith wrote the episode. Janice Cooke directed it. She directed the third season Dawson’s Creek episode “Cinderella Story”. That was the first episode she directed in her career. I would ask her so many questions about that experience if I could.